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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Oh so nearly….

“Call me Ishmael” is the opening line of Herman Melville’s epic story about one man’s search for a fish. I write this for two reasons. Firstly, if you don’t already know this line it will come in handy, especially if you are a quiz fan. I have seen it on a number of occassions and it is worth remembering especially if you are sitting opposite Chris Tarrant and you have only one last question to answer and they ask you what is the first line of Moby Dick. all I ask is that if it is the question don’t forget your friends!

The second is that there is a pool I know well which I work on that gives me a good idea if there are salmon up our neck of the woods. The upper Taw has been hard work for the salmon angler this year, with a majority of the rain seeming to fall on Exmoor and feeding the Taw’s major tributary, the Mole, with plenty of water. Further upstream of the junction we have had to kick our heels a bit and wait things out. I don’t mind and I hear there have been some good catches further down which I am really pleased to hear. It has felt that most of the rain that has fallen has been more localised and we get a small rise of coloured water and then it drops straight back down to low levels within a day.

So I sort of scout this pool  when I am working in a Captain Ahab sort of way and look for a sign of a salmon. The recent rain looks as though it has given Dartmoor a good soaking and the river has held its level pretty well. It has also really helped the trout fishing in the shallower spots. The beat out back of the hotel has some areas that needed some water and it has really got the fish biting.

Dave learns there is nowhere you can't put your fly!

Anyway, I had a day off and rather than writing from a computer that salmon might be about, I like to keep and eye out when I am working or go try it out myself when I get a chance. I got one of these when I had taken Friday off after a long spell of guiding. Emma has been my constant companion on these trips and I have loved having her along. She has bought a migratory license and has even been making a few nifty spey casts in the pools too.

Friday was about as good as it gets, higher water, cloudy and humid and we felt lucky. I went to my favourite pool. Perhaps we should call it Ahab’s as while we sat down we saw a salmon leap. It looked like it was a running fish and it looked like things might be going our way. I like to fish my switch rod in this pool as it is a good size and it is fun to fish.

Steve on a learn to fly fish day

With salmon angling I sort of think of it like having a baby. You get lots of advice. Some of it is worth hanging on to and some isn’t always. The great thing is that there are no rules. In my humble opinion as long as you A) Don’t spook the fish B) Cover the water C) The salmon are in a taking mood you are in with a chance. I know there are other parameters but if the basics are right you never know.

Anyway, I was fishing this pool and had walked down it  a bit when a good fish rolled about 10ft behind me. Emma had seen it too from where she was sitting on the bank. I don’t advise you do this if you are fishing with someone else but I quietly walked back, covered the spot and the salmon took. This sort of knocked rule A of my humble opinion out of the window but reinforced rule C.

Andrea learns to fly fish

The salmon took off and shot around the pool and leapt several times. We both got a good look and although a coloured fish we reckoned it was about 12lbs. I kept it out of snags that I knew about in the pool and thought I might just have it. The fish had other ideas and in the recent rain it seems a large branch was down in the first deep section of the head of the pool where it wrapped me.

I thought I had done everything but it just wasn’t enough. I don’t think I spoke for a bit. Emma did her best to console me and it just about worked.

If you are out with me and I get that far away look in my eye and mutter something or other you’ll know what I’ll be thinking!

The Devon School of Fly Fishing – Fly Fishing in Devon – Fly Fishing Lessons, Tuition and Guiding

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